Billion Plastic Trays: Takeaway Foodies Not Helping The Environment

Published February 10th, 2020 - 07:43 GMT
Deliveroo is food delivery company. Couriers transport orders from restaurants to customers. (Shutterstock)
Deliveroo is food delivery company. Couriers transport orders from restaurants to customers. (Shutterstock)
Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats meals contain more than 100 plastic items

Takeaway delivery companies distribute more than one billion plastic trays, lids and bags every year, according to estimates published yesterday.

The online meal industry, worth £8 billion annually, provides 200 million takeaways a year and a typical delivery is likely include six pieces of plastic – from the boxes and lids used to pack food down to straws, cutlery, and sachets of sauce.

The Sunday Times found that 15 meals ordered from three leading delivery companies – Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats – for between £20 and £30 contained more than 100 plastic items, even after offers of plastic cutlery had been declined.

Food service industry consultant Peter Backman told the newspaper: ‘Some of the most important customers for home delivery are the so-called millennials, who may be concerned about saving the planet but don’t seem to be grumbling about the amount of plastic in their food. The price of convenience trumps the environment, but companies will come under pressure to go greener.’

Just Eat said pollution was ‘a key focus area’ and it was seeking an alternative to plastic food trays, while Deliveroo said it had launched ‘a new eco-friendly packaging range’ to help restaurants and would introduce eco-friendly initiatives this year, including as trays made from seaweed.

Uber Eats said it was ‘committed to helping restaurants and users reduce single-use plastic waste.’ It added: ‘By default, orders from most restaurants come without plastic straws, utensils and paper napkins, unless requested. We also encourage all restaurants to use non-plastic packaging and provide partners with access to an eco-friendly packaging supplier.’

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet said: ‘The plastic sachet is everywhere and yet is invisible to us. Every year we make almost a trillion of these uncollectable, unrecyclable, contaminated, valueless little packets, enough to completely wrap our planet from pole to pole.

‘You might be happy to receive your next takeaway in a paper bag or a pulp based tray, but now please notice those plastic sachets.’ 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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